The Department of Marine Resources received 26 bids for two recreational fishing boats it wants to sell, spokesman Melissa Scallan said Monday.
The bids will be open today at the Commission on Marine Resources meeting at the Bolton Building in Biloxi. Scallan said officials will review the bids for about a week and could sell the boats as early as next week.
The DMR received the boats from a foundation started by former Executive Director Bill Walker. DMR leased the boats from the Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation for several years and spent more than $1.4 million for equipment and repairs on the boats, the 42-foot Californian and the 36-foot Topaz. The boats were valued at $350,000 and $280,000 for insurance purposes.
A lot of the equipment -- all of the electronics -- has been removed from the boats. Potential bidders said it would cost at least $15,000 to replace that equipment.
The DMR said that equipment was being kept in case it was needed on other boats the agency owns.
The agency's spending is being investigated by state and federal authorities and was the subject of a audit that criticized the agency for its lack over oversight and control
Walker was fired by the CMR in January but he has denied any wrongdoing.